UNION COUNTY — Each year, the Union County Chamber of Commerce Annual Member Banquet is highlighted by a number of awards, which are chosen by chamber members and evaluated by the chamber ‘s nominating committee. Selections are based on each industry, business or group’s contribution to the chamber mission and its overall service to Union County as a whole.
Volunteer of the Year
The 2014 Union County Chamber of Commerce Volunteer of the Year is Bob Love.
“Volunteers are the only human beings on the face of the earth who reflect this nation’s compassion, unselfish caring, patience and just plain love for one another,” said Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Torance Inman.
Inman discussed the dedication and desire to serve the community required of those who volunteer. He also described Love before revealing that he was the award recipient.
“This person not only serves his church by being a leader in the men’s group and choir, but also teaches youth, plays instruments, and has a group that performs in countless locations throughout the county.”
Inman pointed out that Love has served as chair of the Union Community Foundation and is currently serving on the board of the Union County Arts Council and as chair of the Union Event Center board.
“His dedication to serve the people of Union County and make Union a better place is unsurpassed,” Inman said. “The hours, the miles, the missed meals, the late nights, the presentations, the obstacles, the blood, sweat and tears are all second nature to him. What a professional! What a leader! What a volunteer!”
Service Group of the Year
The 2014 Union County Chamber of Commerce Service Group of the Year is the Union County YMCA.
This award was designed to recognize individuals or groups who have promoted positive community growth and awareness while serving in a capacity which encourages others to act for the good of the community.
Inman said the Union County YMCA has made an outstanding contribution to the community, professionally and through volunteer service, and has demonstrated exceptional commitment in action and service by helping with special projects and ongoing activities. He pointed out the group participates in events such as Downtown Open House, Fall Fest Downtown, Uniquely Union, and the Union County Farmers Market. He also mentioned that Jo Ann Carter, one of Relay for Life’s most successful team captains, works at the YMCA front desk.
Inman explained that the Union County YMCA was originally incorporated in 1987 and operated in a small storefront space on Main Street in Union. In March 1994, the Union County YMCA was chartered as a YMCA by the YMCA of the USA, and upon being chartered, a partnership with the City of Union was created, which included moving into a building that was formerly part of the Union High School campus on Main Street.
The Union County YMCA provides an after-school program for children, a summer day camp throughout the summer, and spring soccer, in addition to health and wellness amenities and classes.
Union County YMCA Director Scott Sandor and YMCA staff accepted the award.
Shining Star Award
The 2014 Union County Chamber of Commerce Shining Star Award was presented to The Miracle League of Union County.
Inman said the Shining Star is someone who shines brightly among a host of stars over the course of the year, pointing out previous selections such as Col. Jack Whitener, Timken, the Union County Museum, Henry Turner of Big Buck Racing, David Owens, Clerk of Court Freddie Gault, and Barbara Rippy.
Inman said this year’s Shining Star is not just one star, but several that make up a constellation.
“This constellation has been forming for some time, and came fully into focus this year,” Inman said. “The dream began to take shape when one star reached out to another star; and then another star to another star; and a board was formed; and then the dots — no, not dots — the stars began to connect.”
Inman said the constellation that is The Miracle League of Union County (MLUC) is made up of the MLUC board, Timken Sports Complex, tthe Timken Family Foundation, Union City Council and Mayor Harold Thompson, Union County Council and Supervisor Tommy Sinclair, the Union County Recreation Department, Union Rotary Club, and others led by Amy Austin.
Austin was unable to attend Thursday’s banquet, but she thanked those in attendance via a speakerphone which Inman held up to the microphone.
“I’m so excited about this award, but this award is for our athletes,” Austin said. “Everybody in Union made it possible, but if not for them (MLUC athletes) it wouldn’t have happened.”
Austin reminded everyone to check The Miracle League of Union County Facebook page, mentioning there would be exciting news shared there within a few days. Austin then thanked those in attendance again.
“Thank you for doing something so many other communities only wish they could,” she said.
Industry of the Year
The 2014 Union County Chamber of Commerce Industry of the Year is Santuc Precision.
Inman explained that Santuc Precision took two local complimentary businesses — Hines Machine Shop and H&H Metal Products — combined the two, re-engineered the processes, improved the product and services, and created a growth environment.
“Santuc Precision is a moderate-volume metal stamping and job shop machining operation in South Carolina that is devoted to consistently improve the supply chain process,” Inman said. “They believe suppliers and their customers should have an integrated partnership with one goal, and that is to provide the end customer with a quality product as promised.”
Inman pointed out that owner Joey Hines was named Ambassador for Economic Development in South Carolina.
President’s Choice Award
The 2014 Union County Chamber of Commerce President’s Choice Award was presented to the Small Business Development Center at Winthrop University.
“No job is too big for this group,” Inman said, mentioning that since 2008, the Small Business Development Center has helped over 23,000 businesses and created over 6,500 jobs.
The Winthrop Region Small Business Development Center offers free one-on-one consultations to assist current business owners as they grow, as well as helping aspiring entrepreneurs develop business plans and get their ventures open for business. The center also offers workshops to benefit start-ups, business owners, CEOs and the companies they run. Workshops focus on starting a business, complying with taxes and legal requirements, franchising, marketing, or getting an online presence on a shoestring budget.
Friend of the Chamber
The 2014 Union County Chamber of Commerce “Friend of the Chamber” is United Wood Treating Company.
Inman said the chamber has a large number of supporters and friends — many of which were in attendance — and without them, the chamber could not exist. He also said the Friend of the Chamber award recognizes a person or organization that has shown an intense interest in the chamber and has invested time, energy and money into helping it succeed.
Inman said United Wood Treating Company is usually one of the first to respond when the chamber puts out word of a need in the community, and sometimes comes to the chamber’s aid without the call going out.
Inman discussed the history of the company, which he noted operates in one of the most beautiful locations in Union County.
“A partnership between Sam Coker and Steve Hudson was formed in 1988,” Inman said. “They decided to locate in Union County because of its workforce, rural setting, rail service and a sustainable wood supply. Continuous improvement, initiative thinking and spot-on investment allowed sales to grow and expansion came.”
“United Wood Treating is not only a leader in the treated wood industry, they are a leader right here at home,” Inman added.
Small Business of the Year
The 2014 Union County Chamber of Commerce Small Business of the Year is Davis Services.
“Once in awhile a small business will come into our community and in a matter of no time, everyone is aware of not only its professional impact, but its total involvement in the community,” Inman said. “This year’s Small Business of the Year is one such business.”
Inman said Davis Services — a customer-focused heating and air conditioning company — is quick to help the chamber and excited when there is a Business After Hours event or another networking opportunity is made available. He said they not only attend events, but also sponsor activities and provide support through promotional items.
Inman said the business receives countless acclaims from customers across the region, ranging from individual homeowners to small businesses and industry, and he gave his own personal testimony.
“This business came to the rescue of my niece during this past bitter winter,” Inman said. “Unbeknown to my niece or this business, I watched closely to see if they provided the services to which they aspire. They claim to provide a positive working environment, practical advice and suggestions, cutting edge technology and peace of mind. And they did.”
Davis Services specializes in designing, engineering, and installing complete comfort systems for owners of existing homes and buildings.
Inman said Davis Services takes special pride in its craftsmen, and the entire company works hard to make the customer’s experience hassle-free and enjoyable.
“From the professionalism of their sales engineers to the dedication of their field personnel, they are dedicated to delivering you the best,” he said.